Monday, December 19, 2011

Two sets of rules in the internet age?

Copyright remains a big bone of contention on the internet.

While we tend to think of copyright as being an issue mainly for music and movie studios, it's also a problem for the news publishing industry.

Recently, Rupert Murdoch had a hissy-fit over Google's use of headlines from his online publications in its Google News service although he eventually saw the light and backed down from a threat to take action against the search giant.

However, there are still a good number of organisations within the news industry who are highly protective of their content and regularly threaten bloggers and others who reproduce their copy without permission (such permission almost always requiring payment).

With this in mind, I was gobsmacked to see a judgment made by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in which it ruled that it was now okay for the news media to publish images it had snatched from FaceBook - without the permission of the original poster.

It seems that the ACMA believes that such content, if it's made publicly available by the FaceBook account owner, can be republished without infringing copyright.

With this in mind, I'm certain that the ACMA will be standing behind any blogger or other Net user who chooses to republish (without permission) any of the work the news media -- so long as that work has been made "publicly available" by being first published by the news-organisation concerned, via its own website.

I will contact the ACMA to get their position on this but I think we all know what it will be.

Does this sound fair to you?

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